If you’ve never been to a dog show, a festival for dogs or a county show you have missed something special. This year many of them have been cancelled along with other mass gatherings to prevent the spread of Covid-1, but don’t worry they will be back so maybe we can whet your appetite and you can make a note when you dust off your 2020 calendar.
So what actually takes place at a well organised event?
Whether you are an avid foodie, a dog lover, want loads for children to enjoy, or simply want a fun-filled day out, these shows are for you. Many are created to support small producers and offer a wonderful shopping experience. Organisers are unashamedly dedicated to a dog’s enjoyment and yours too. They clearly try to cram as many of your dog’s favorite activities into one event. Whatever your dog’s breed or age, there will be something to try, sniff or taste, and they are brilliant family events too; with have-a-go activities for younger family members, and things to try, often centered around their love of dogs!
Alongside the dog shows and demonstrations there are often opportunities to see rural craft demonstrations, live music and an array of people ready to entertain you, and there is always food and drink to tempt you. If all this doesn’t give you a feel-good glow, you might like to know that many of the events support local and national charities so your money is helping local traders and vital work.
Will events start up again once lockdown has ended?
It’s been a sad time for those of us who like to join other dog lovers and pet owners at events throughout the year. Many of these, especially the bigger ones take over a year to plan for and even smaller, local events, which often rely on volunteers, take a lot of organisin. With the exception of one or two of the events planned earlier in the year and which were able to reschedule, such as Dogstival which will take place in the New Forest, in early September, many have been removed from the calendar altogether this year.
What about Crufts – will it come back?
Who would have thought the world’s largest international dog show venue would become an amazing temporary NHS hospital just a few weeks after the doors had closed.
Surely no one could have predicted that the Birmingham NEC, home to Crufts, would become a Covid Nightingale hospital, ready to respond to the looming pandemic.
It seemed to us that no sooner had Barking Bags taken down our stand at Crufts, we were hearing alarming news of a lockdown as the coronavirus began to take hold. As we began to re-think how our little business would work, and worrying about our colleagues in India and our family and friends closer to home, the NEC was been transformed into a massive NHS Nightingale Hospital to play its part in dealing with new, terrifying challenges.
Click to watch incredible time lapse footage of the NEC being transformed.
Overnight, we were all having to adapt and change, and it meant an end to national dogs shows, festivals, charity events, fayres and country shows. Of course, it was the right thing to cancel planned events but it’s sad to see them close and to realise that all the months of planning and preparations were for nothing. We love to meet our customers, get feed-back and ideas and meet your pets. It is not simply about business - it’s about being part of a community, so the news was very painful to hear. Every week throughout April, May and June, we learnt of more cancellations, but we were still holding out for better news, hoping that by late July, or August at the latest, some of the much-anticipated events would go ahead. Most of the shows were outdoors so surely, if there was careful planning and social distancing they could go ahead? Sadly, it seems it was not to be. One by one the events were cancelled, and everyone’s plans for the Summer of 2020 were going to change.
We heard just this week that All About Dogs have taken the hard decision to cancel all remaining events in 2020 – the restrictions and complex health and safety considerations just made it impossible to justify hosting events and putting people at risk.
All About Dogs is just one of many organisations and charities that showcase the very best in pet care and bring animal lovers together. This year the showgrounds will be empty; arena displays won’t be taking place, face-to-face expert advice, won’t be available, there will be no markets offering unusual shopping opportunities and the chance to have a go at numerous fun activities for pets, their owners and their families simply won’t happen.
It is disappointing for the show dogs, for the trainers, pet businesses and visitors but it must be simply devastating for the organisers who take months and years to plan and prepare for the events. And there are also charities that will have lost revenue as a result of event closures.
These pet people are a creative bunch – so you cans still take part from home.
Some organisations have come up with a novel approach and launched virtual shows.
The Doodle Trust plans to host a VIRTUAL DOODLEFEST 2020 on 7-8th August 2020 and The Shropshire Virtual County Show is planning an exciting online event celebrating the best of the county while raising money for 5 great local charities between 22- 31st August. If you can, please give events like these your support.
We are not beaten. There is still a chance that some events will be possible at the end of the summer and later in the year and we know plans are already underway to host shows and other events in 2021. It has been a tough year for everyone but the message is simple – stay safe and stay in touch for 2021 is another year!